New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

No matter how long you’ve been in New York City, you undoubtedly know that there is so much to do and so much going on; as exciting as this is, it can often be overwhelming with all the options. March is a month that can be either incredibly cold and snowy, or it can also be generous with hints of sunshine and warmer temperatures. This unpredictable weather pattern can be difficult when it comes to planning activities, but luckily, I’ve rounded up some of the best activities you can take advantage of, no matter what the weather elements show. If you’re new to English and looking for ways to practice the language, these options will also offer plenty of ways to exercise your skills and put them into application.

Patricks Day

  1. Patrick’s Day Parade; Saturday, March 17, 2018

If you’ve been reading this blog for a few months, by now you should realize that I’m a pretty big fan of parades—and New York City has no shortage of these events throughout the year! Even though the holiday has Irish origins and celebrates Ireland’s heritage, it doesn’t stop the rest of us from celebrating! This year, the parade conveniently falls on the actual holiday, so expect a larger than normal crowd for this year’s celebration. The parade starts at 44th Street up Fifth Avenue and stops all the way up at East 80th Street. Expect plenty of green, people wearing shamrocks, and tons of drinking. If you plan on attending and need a good phrase in English to trade with other parade attendees, try wishing others “the luck of the Irish!” You’ll get a few “Cheers!” and maybe make some new friends!

  1. March Madness; The whole month of March

I’ve talked about professional baseball, football, hockey, and basketball, but there’s one more sport I need to introduce you to: college basketball. In the United States, the final round of playoffs of college basketball is wildly celebrated. In fact, because it takes up the entire month of March, it has been dubbed as “March Madness.” Alumni and local fans will devote their dedicated energies into cheering for their alma mater or any team in general. Similar to the Super Bowl, bars will fill up with dedicated fans, and people host themed parties in their homes for everyone to congregate. One of the benefits of living in The Big Apple is that many of these games are played in Madison Square Garden, so you can even catch these games live if you wanted to! This year, pick a team that resonates with you. Maybe you even went to a college that is in the playoffs—if so, you can really get into the celebration and join in with other fans! Learn the teams’ catchphrases, join in on the chants, and bond with other fans using your celebratory English phrases like, “Go team!” “Make that 3-pointer!”

  1. NYC Sample Sales; Word of mouth

If you’re into fashion and looking for all sorts of deals on designer and brand-name clothing, be thankful that you’re in New York City this month! If you pay attention to announcements for sample sales, you can get almost anything at major discounted prices. You have to keep your ear to the ground to get wind of these sales, as they’re announced just hours before the sale and mostly come word-of-mouth. If this strikes your interest, follow the “NYC Insider Sample Sale Calendar” on Facebook so you can get updates at your fingertips. If you’re familiar with how sales this big go, then you’ll know to prepare for other shoppers looking for the same deals, so arrive with a thick skin, and get ready to bargain! Try out your negotiating skills like, “I see this is 70% off, but I found this elsewhere at the same price—can you go any lower?” You have to be a bit daring to brace these crowds, but you’ll come away with great product AND higher self-esteem—as well as some mastered English skills!

Even if the weather is freezing one day and warm the next, there are still plenty of reasons to get out there and explore what the city has to offer for the month of March. Plus, each one of these activities will have you practicing your English skills, and the best part is that all of them offer the chance for you to interact with new people, so March can be a win-win month, no matter the weather conditions!

Category : Stay in New York

Can you think of all the movies and televisions shows that you’ve watched that take place in New York City? In order to film these movies and shows in New York City, many celebrities have chosen to make the city their home. For the most part, these famous people do their best to blend in with the crowd since it’s a bit tricky to travel in a limo in the city and not draw attention to themselves; but every once in a while, you might find someone that looks an awful lot like someone you’ve seen in a movie, and then you find out it was actually that very person! Most people get stage fright around these people, but if you feel inclined to share your fanhood with these people, make sure your phrases are strong—think, “I’m such a big fan!” or “Your show is my favorite one to watch!” Just make sure you’re nice, and in most situations, they’ll be just as kind back.


  1. Jerry Seinfeld, Brooklyn

You might remember when I talked about the show Seinfeld and how it was all about life in New York City; so how fitting is it that the lead comedian in this show still lives in the city with his family? He might be hard to spot since he and his family tend to keep to themselves, but they have to leave sometimes, right?

  1. Sarah Jessica Parker, West Village

Sex and the City was (and still is!) one of my favorite shows—it’s all about dating in New York City, and some say the main character in the show is in fact the city itself! But it’s also no surprise that the lead HUMAN actor, Sarah Jessica Parker lives in the city with her family. She’s always been outspoken about being a city girl, so of course she’s here, too!

  1. Kevin Bacon, Upper West Side

This actor has been gracing our screens for decades now, so he should be pretty familiar to you as well. He and his wife own a unit in this neighborhood and has been spotted by his neighbors, so if you find yourself in the Upper West Side for any reason, keep your eyes peeled!

  1. Robert De Niro, Greenwich Village

As a native New Yorker, De Niro has always been very vocal about his love for the city and was especially helpful in the revitalization of the city after the 9/11 attacks. Plus, his New York accent always comes through thick in all of his movies, which only makes that much more since that he’s still here in NYC!

  1. Tina Fey, West End Avenue

Tina Fey’s shows Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt all take place and film in New York City, so it’s only natural that she’s stayed in Manhattan as well. You can find Tina Fey and her husband in the West End Avenue area of Manhattan—surely the convenience of travel and getting out of the city was a huge appeal for such a megastar as herself!

  1. Taylor Swift, TriBeCa

It’s probably a pretty accurate assumption that Taylor doesn’t spend much time at her place in TriBeCa just because of her intense tour schedule and PR events, but she’s such a huge star that she’s pretty hard to miss, so next time you’re in this neighborhood, keep your eyes peeled—you never know!

  1. Madonna, Upper East Side

This one was surprising for me to learn, as I hardly imagine Madonna has enough time to relax in her Upper East Side unit given her busy global schedule! At the same time, who can blame her? It’s New York City, right? Plus, if you ever run into her, she’ll be happy to hear that she has fans from all over the world since she spends so much of her time in other countries!

Not all superstars have to live in California or in private planes—some celebrities enjoy the excitement and buzz of New York City. They might be easy to miss since they’re pretty good at blending in with the crowds, but you never know when you might see your favorite star in the subway or taking a stroll through Central Park—after all, our musical and on-screen favorites get to take break for themselves, too!

Category : How to Learn

Living in any area of the country (or the world, for that matter) can have the potential of being dangerous—depending on the time of day (or night), the location, or the people you surround yourself with, danger can essentially be anywhere. New York City has the reputation is being more dangerous than other large cities, but as long as you’re careful and mindful, you can avoid common mistakes and deter potentially dangerous situations. If you’re still a bit new to the English language, you might feel this nervousness a bit prevalently due to the barrier, but I’ve broken it down a bit here to make it easier for you so you can still enjoy the city and all the wonderful things it has to offer.

stay safe in new york

  1. Always have a full cell phone battery

Technology is a wonderful enhancement to our daily lives of course, so it’s important to try your best to maintain a healthy battery life while you’re out on the town. You never know what might happen and when you may need to contact someone or use one of your apps—you never really know when you might need your phone until you’ve lost your battery life, right? A very smart and worth-it investment is a remote battery pack for your phone—when I travel or when I know I’ll be away from an outlet for a long period of time, this little guy has saved me more than once. I highly recommend getting one of these—they’re cheap and easy to carry. And since English is a bit newer to you, you’ll be able to continue using your translation apps in the case of an emergency.

  1. Be wary of the subway

One of the best pieces of advice I received upon moving to New York City was to avoid the subways after 11 pm. It’s not that terrible things happen underground after this time, but there are simply less people traveling at this hour. This means people tend to be braver when it comes to stealing or harassing people, and if you’ve spent enough time in New York City, you know that we have our fair share of eccentric individuals. I told myself that if I find myself still out after this hour, I’ll shell out the extra money to get a cab or another car service. Plus, being new to English also means that you can avoid talking to these subway people!

  1. Lose the headphones

When I’m commuting to and from work during rush hours, I feel fine keeping my ear buds in because I’m surrounded by hundreds of people during these time periods. But again, if you find yourself out past 11 pm, I suggest losing them so your hearing is at its best. Walking at night will automatically heighten your senses, but you want to be extra alert when it comes to your hearing since your vision won’t be as strong and you’ll have to rely on your hearing to listen to footsteps around you, oncoming voices, or even wavering vehicles. This is a “better safe than sorry” instance. If you’re still practicing your English, I’d also recommend having a speed dial on your phone in the event you feel something is off just so you can talk to someone during this feeling of unease.

  1. Stay with the lights

As a petite female, I find that my levels of fear are pretty high in comparison to others just because my ability to physically defend myself is pretty low. So I realized that another detail that helped lessen my anxiety was to stay close to pockets of the city that are well-lit. Think about walking around Times Square at night—you feel pretty safe not only because of all the people and security but also because of the lights, right? So if you find yourself feeling a bit worried or concerned about getting around at night, be sure to stay in these areas with lots of people and plenty of light then hail a cab from there. They say that people can smell fear, and if there are bad people out there and can sense your discomfort, you can become an easy target. Plus, as I’ve said before, New York City is a huge melting pot, so if you need help with translation, there’s bound to someone in this area that can help you out!

New York City is a magical and wonderful city, so don’t let others make you feel paranoid or afraid of living here—as long as you’re careful and mindful, you’ll be just fine!

Category : Stay in New York

A few months ago, I introduced a few television shows that take place in New York City and how accurate they are; some of them were completely unrealistic (think, “Friends”) while some of them were a bit accurate when it came to life in the Big Apple (even “Seinfeld” was pretty accurate). I wanted to write this post about shows that currently film in New York City—you might have walked past during one or two of these before while they’re filming actually! They’ll typically close down a road, and you’ll see trailers up and down the streets for wardrobe, props, and even catering. Most times they’ll post what they’re filming and what days on the street’s telephone poles. This is enough for me to get excited about it—I’ll poke my head up and see if I can see any of my favorite actors! Taking a note of the following shows that shoot in New York City will not only get you interested in these programs, but you’ll easily pick up enough English (and New York City) lingo to help your learning process.

tv show

  1. Blue Bloods, CBS

This show has been on since 2010 and has made quite a name for itself in the police procedural drama realm. It takes place in New York City, so you’ll see them quite a bit all over the city streets in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan—specifically in the East Village. This is a great way to get familiar with not only police work in New York City, but it will help you practice your English, especially your conversational phrases. Since most of the actors speak quickly and frequently with each other, their English is often clumped together, so it’ll help you get used to the speed of speaking English.

  1. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC

This specific franchise has been around for almost 20 years now, so the show has evolved quite a bit over time. Focusing on legal and crime procedures in New York City, the program focuses on special cases and how the legal and police authorities work their way through each one. The show is shot in all five boroughs, so chances are pretty high that you might run into a taping or two during your time in the Big Apple. Some of the language in this show might be tricky with legal and police jargon, but it’s still great for learning conversational terms and watch how certain professionals conduct themselves.

  1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix

This is actually one of my favorite shows, and I was so excited when I learned that it was shot in New York City. The show is about a young woman that comes to the city for a fresh start, but she’s a bit behind the times, so she has to learn new fashion, new slang terms, and how to take care of herself as she also learns about living in the city. If you are new to the English language, this is also a great show to watch since you’re watching the lead character adapt to New York City but also adapt to a brand new language all over again.

  1. Jessica Jones, Netflix

If you’re into superhero plots, this is a great one for you to enjoy. The main character opens up her own detective agency and follows her and her fellow agents as they adapt to this new business structure. You might also like this since it’s filmed in New York City. The show does its best to not necessarily name their town as New York City, but sometimes it’s hard to miss that it is indeed the Big Apple. If you’re familiar with Hell’s Kitchen, you might recognize some of the sights and architecture pieces in certain scenes. Even though there is a bit of a supernatural element in this show, it’s still a great way to learn some new English phrases while you’re still getting to know New York City.

Learning English during your time in New York City doesn’t necessarily have to be tedious—all you need to do is catch a few episodes of this show, and you’ll start looking for familiar scenery from the city and picking up on common English phrases and maybe even picking up some new slang!


Category : New York